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Updated Monday 31 January 2005
Bid to buy The Wrekin
Wrekin Dawn - photo by Danny Beath
A new dawn for The Wrekin

The 126 acre portion of The Wrekin, which was put up for sale by the Holt family, is to be sold off in eight smaller portions.

A consortium led by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust failed to raise the £500,000 asking price.

LISTEN
audioListen to Colin Preston, director of Shropshire Wildlife Trust talking to BBC Radio Shropshire's Tracey Higgins in October 2004. (28k)
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SEE ALSO

Legends: The tale of the Wrekin Giant

Video Nation: Stuart Williams explains the emotional force The Wrekin has on the people of Shropshire.

Is The Wrekin Shropshire's most distinctive feature?
Have a look at our
Wrekin Gallery

More myths and legends on our
Weird Shropshire index

LINKS
Shropshire Wildlife Trust
A snapshot of the trust's work and more about the wrekin appeal.

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WREKIN FACTS

The Wrekin dominates the landscape around Telford, rising to 1,334ft (406.6m).

JRR Tolkein is known to have climbed The Wrekin while writing 'The Lord of The Rings' and part of The Wrekin is thought to have been the inspiration behind The Shire.

Though it has never been a volcano, The Wrekin is largely formed from volcanic rocks - once ashes and lava.

In the 1st Century, the Celtic Cornovii tribe used it as a hillfort, before they were driven off by invading Romans.

Ancient woodland on The Wrekin and the nearby Ercall, is all that remains of a huge forest that was at one time used by the Normans for hunting.

In the lea of The Wrekin, historians believe that Wellington was originally called Weoleahington, meaning 'The settlement by the temple'.

After the fall of Roman Viroconium, Saxons founded a political capital at Wrockwardine... and a spiritual capital (including a temple) in Wellington - Possibly due to the presence of the dominant Wrekin.

'All Friends Around The Wrekin', backed by Shropshire Wildlife Trust, had entered a bid of less than half the £500,000 asking price. The original bid was rejected in September, while a slightly improved bid was also rejected in January.

The £200,000 Heritage Lottery funding was set aside - established by the District Valuer to represent the commercial value of the land. The funding was only secured on the condition that the trust wasn't allowed to exceed the lottery's valuation of the 126 acre site.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to raise the full £500,000, the owner has decided to split the site into eight separate plots - to be sold off individually.

The lots range from 5.61 acres (2.27 hectares) to 37.298 acres (15.094 hectares).

The 126 acre slice at the centre of the sale has been in the Holt family for 200 years. The relatively small portion in question doesn't include the summit.

Forest Glen

In November, Shropshire Wildlife Trust bought the one acre Forest Glen site at the bottom of the Wrekin.

The land, in a poor condition at the time of sale, could provide better parking for both the Ercall and the Wrekin, as well as potentially room for display boards and toilet facilities.

The Forest Glen land had been owned by the Miras Group (who owned Telford United Football Club), but then transferred to the receivers after the group's collapse.

The Wrekin from Lyth Hill - Take a look at our Wrekin gallery
See some great views in our Wrekin gallery

Background

The Wrekin is strictly protected by legislation - designated (among others) as part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and A Scheduled Ancient Monument.



More about The Wrekin

The hill is arguably the most distinctive landmark in Shropshire.

Some people have compared The Wrekin with Ayers Rock (or Uluru) in Australia... And, while that might initially sound a crazy idea, there are a few similarities...

The Wrekin Wrangle
We talk to the people who want The Wrekin transmitter torn down

Although it rises to only 1,334ft (406.6m), the surrounding countryside is flat enough to allow the hill to dominate the landscape.

It can be seen for miles around, and for a homesick Salopian returning home on the M54, it's the first sight he/she has of Shropshire.

It's also easy to understand why some people declare an almost spiritual connection with the hill.

So what do we know about The Wrekin?

It's formed from some of the oldest rocks in the area, including lava and volcanic ash. However, it isn't an extinct volcano, as popular belief would have it.

The Cornovii tribes established a hillfort on The Wrekin in the 1st Century AD, before the Romans arrived and drove the Celts out.

Later on, the hill was part of a huge Norman hunting forest, which originally stretched as far Newport and Shrewsbury. Today, trees on The Wrekin and The Ercall are all that remains of a forest once inhabited by wild pigs and other quarry.

The Normans referred to the hill as Mount Gilbert, after a local Hermit.

During the 19th Century, wood from the Wrekin was converted into charcoal for use in the glass industry.

More recently, JRR Tolkein (author of 'The Lord of the Rings') used to enjoy walking on the hill when he lived in nearby Penkridge.

It is claimed that The Wrekin provided the inspiration for 'Middle Earth' - The view certainly bears more than a passing resemblance to 'The Shire'. Who knows you might even spot a Hobbit or two from the summit!

Unsurprisingly, legends and folklore abound. One of the most popular is the tale of the Wrekin giant, who set out to flood Shrewsbury but was foiled by a cunning cobbler - Read more.

The Wrekin
The Wrekin
Today, The Wrekin still contains some beautiful ancient woodland and has been declared both a 'Site of Special Scientific Interest' (SSSI) and 'An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'.

Talking to BBC Radio Shropshire's Michael Howell, current owner Peter Holt explained that a buyer would also essentially have to be a custodian, dedicated to looking after the site.

As an important part of both National and Shropshire heritage, there would be little opportunity to develop the property.

Acting on behalf of the agents FPD Savills, Tony Morris-Eyton didn't rule out a possible purchase by a group such as The National Trust or English Heritage.

The large section up for grabs is a 126 acre section on the Telford side - an area accessible to the public. It could be yours for £500,000.
 
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